Right up front, I'll tell you that I don't have any earth-shattering news, tips or opinions about jeans.
In fact, I don't really love wearing jeans.
I am tall - with a 34" inseam - and finding jeans that fit well off the rack is no easy task.
But there are certain times the occasion just calls for jeans - and so I digress.
In my Fashion Guide spreadsheet, I list Banana Republic and JCrew as my two favorite places to buy jeans, followed closely by Gap for their Long and Lean style. I can usually get by purchasing off the rack at these stores.
I guess one of my best tips for buying jeans is to try on several different styles and cuts, even if you think they might not work for you.
We've all heard the "mom jeans" joke and I agree that we must shun the high waists and pleats.
I've personally found the best style for me is low-rise (but not too low-rise).
I venture to say that for those of us 30+, the boot cut style is the most flattering. That little kicky flair at the bottom gives the illusion of slimmer upper legs.
Trouser jeans are another must-have, in my opinion. They usually have a little larger flare at the leg and can be dressed up and worn for many occasions.
Another bit of advice: Make sure you have a pair of jeans that are a good length for flats, and another that are a good length for heels. Usually one pair does not work for both scenarios.
Stick with dark washes and make sure the back pockets look good for your particular booty situation.
Personally, I don't need any fancy designs and big pockets attached to my backside.
Which leads me to a few easy suggestions for dressing five pounds slimmer:
1. Buy jeans in a dark wash and stick with darker colored bottoms all together.
2. Make sure all pants are the correct length. Nothing ruins an outfit like pants that are too short or too long. Find a good seamstress.... and remember most pants can be lengthened at least half an inch if they're too short.
3. Research, purchase and WEAR good foundation undergarments. Say NO! to panty lines, muffin-top rollovers and bulges due to clothes pinching and binding. And as for the chest: lift it it up and hold it in. A professional bra fitting is one of the best investments you can make.
4. Especially if you're short, push up long sleeves and add a wide cuff bracelet.
5. Try various necklines in shirts to see which flatters you the most. Turtlenecks, though cozy and warm, often aren't very flattering. Ballet neck or boatneck tops work for a lot of people as they elongate the neck and add height.
6. Keep patterns and bright colors in check. Less is more. Rely on accessories to give you that special pop of color.
7. Try your hand at wearing longer jackets and coats. Find the style that suits you best. They can cover a myriad of "sins" and make an outfit look pulled-together
8. And finally, wear clothes that fit you. This seems obvious...but when you're out next time, look at how many people are wearing clothes that are too small or too large. Don't hide behind large, baggy clothes thinking you will look smaller. And don't try to squeeze into something too small (see #2 and #3 above).
Purchase clothes for the size you are now, not for the size you think or wish you will be two months from now. You will save lots of time, money and frustration by embracing yourself at this very moment. Everyone is beautiful in so many ways. Use clothing to enhance the wonderful things you have. A size stamped on a piece of clothing should not dictate your worth to the world.
Tomorrow: Shoes, handbags, jewelry and other accessories
Friday: Putting it all together: Photos from my closet of some of my favorite fall and winter outfits.